Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Pan-browned Brussels Sprouts

I don’t think I ever saw brussels sprouts on the dinner menu growing up, but I feared them nonetheless. Hearing my elementary school classmates describe being forced to eat them was enough.

sprouts_washed

So maybe it’s a good thing that my first memorable experience with brussels sprouts was a few years ago, when I was part of a CSA and one week found myself with a bunch of them still on the stalk. Fridge space was limited, so I cooked them immediately. And as it turns out, brussels sprouts are delicious! Especially when given a good dose of butter and garlic and a sprinkling of pine nuts to bring out their sweet, nutty flavor.

brussels_sprouts_cooking

I’ve tried to grow them every year since, and always end up with big beautiful stalks but no sprouts (they’re hard to grow in Colorado but I’ll get the timing right, someday.) So I get them from the farmer’s market once in a blue moon, but usually I can only find sprouts that are flown in from California or Mexico. Friends on the West Coast, I envy you.

brussels_sprouts_finished

But if you find yourself in possession of some sprouts, these crunchy, buttery little bites are perfect as an appetizer with a cold beer. They rarely make it to the dinner table in my house (although they make a great side dish, when they do.) I’ve won over a number of sprout-haters with this recipe, and I like to think it’ll work the same magic on any picky eaters you happen to be feeding.

Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Special Equipment
  • 10-inch heavy skillet, preferably cast iron

Instructions

  1. Peel any blemished or dirty outer leaves from brussels sprouts while rinsing in cold water.
  2. Trim off stems and halve lengthwise.
  3. Thinly slice garlic cloves.
  4. Melt butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add garlic, removing pieces to a bowl as they turn golden brown.
  5. Reduce heat to low and arrange brussels sprouts in skillet, cut side down
  6. Sprinkle with pine nuts and season with salt and pepper
  7. Cook, uncovered, until undersides are golden brown, about 15 minutes
  8. As brussels sprouts brown, use tongs to move them to a platter (you may need to move undercooked sprouts from the edge of the pan to the center to even out cooking time.)
  9. Spoon pine nuts over brussels sprouts and season with pepper.

Notes

Adapted from Gourmet.

http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/pan-browned-brussels-sprouts/

How to Cook (and eat) an Artichoke

Today, I bring you a post about my very favorite vegetable: The humble artichoke.

cut_stems

I’ve loved artichokes for as long as I can remember. They’re a family favorite, and I suspect I got a taste for them before I even learned to walk.

ready_to_devour

So I’ve never not known how to eat an artichoke. Pulling the meat off the leaves with my teeth and scraping out the fuzzy choke is second nature to me. But to the uninitiated, the artichoke can be a confusing vegetable.

dig_out_the_choke

According to family legend, my grandpa was visiting my parents in the Bay Area, and dinner that night included his first artichoke. Amid the lively dinner conversation, he didn’t notice that everyone else was discarding the choke before they started eating the heart. Someone asked him how he was enjoying the artichoke, and through a mouthful of fluff he said “it’s a little hairy.”

dont_choke

So if you’re among the uninitiated, fear not. This handy guide will help you figure out which parts are delicious, and which are not. And hurry; artichoke season won’t be with us much longer.

eat_your_heart_out

While I generally like anything containing artichokes, I’m a purist when it comes to cooking them. I’ve never stuffed them, or deep fried them, or braised them. I always make them exactly the way my mom does: steamed, with lemon butter for dipping.

dipping

This is my tried-and-true method for cooking a perfect artichoke, every time. For me, nothing but lemon butter will do. But I know people who feel just as passionately about mayonnaise (blech) — so feel free to use whatever dipping sauce you like, I guess. Just don’t tell me about it.

Artichokes with Lemon Butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Artichokes with Lemon Butter

Ingredients

  • 2 large artichokes (look for artichokes that are heavy and without much browning on the stem)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot with about 2" of water and set it to boil (Ideally, use one with a built in steamer/colander basket to keep the artichokes up off the burner.)
  2. Rinse artichokes with warm water, turning over several times to flush out any dirt between the leaves.
  3. Cut stems to about 1-1/2 inches in length. Some people also cut the thorns off the ends of the leaves; I don't.
  4. When water boils, reduce heat to low and add artichokes along with a squeeze of lemon. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.
  5. Turn artichokes over using tongs, and try to pull out one of the outer leaves. If it holds firm, check it again in 8-10 minutes.
  6. As the artichoke gets close to being done you'll be able to pull out a leaf with a little pressure, test it by using your teeth to scrape the meat off the bottom of the leaf. Initially it will be a little chewy, at this point start checking every 2-3 minutes. Be warned: Artichokes can go from done to overcooked very quickly, and there's nothing sadder than a mushy artichoke. Set a timer.
  7. The artichoke is perfectly cooked when a leaf comes out easily, and the meat on the end of the leaves is al dente.
  8. Remove artichokes immediately using tongs, carefully turning each upside down over the pot first to drain it.
  9. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a few dashes of salt. Melt in the microwave (~25 seconds) and stir, you'll want to taste it on a leaf and then add more lemon and salt until it's just right. (Since "just right" is different for everyone, I divide the butter into individual bowls and put lemons and salt on the table.)
  10. To eat:
  11. Place a big bowl in the middle of the table for discards. Everyone will need a knife, a fork, and a spoon.
  12. Discard the small outer leaves at the base of the artichoke, these will be stringy and not very tasty. Cut off the stem, for the same reason.
  13. As you work your way up the outer leaves, dip these in lemon butter and use your teeth to scrape off the little piece of heart at the base. Toss the rest of the leaf, hopefully into the discard bowl and not the laps of your dinner companions (it happens.)
  14. Keep eating until you get to the small purplish leaves, then use a spoon to carefully scrape those out and discard them (they will be very hot.)
  15. Underneath, you'll see the fuzzy choke, use your spoon to scrape this out and discard it.
  16. Now you're left with the heart -- the best part. Cut it into pieces and devour.
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/the-perfect-artichoke/

artichoke_aftermath